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Summary:

Kindle, Nook and iRex are already here, and publishers are falling over themselves with excitement that “e-readers” may once again let them…

Mag+ concept
photo: BERG/Bonnier

Kindle, Nook and iRex are already here, and publishers are falling over themselves with excitement that “e-readers” may once again let them lock down their content to a form that can be paid for and carried in your bag (a bit like newspapers and magazines of yesteryear).

Swedish mag publisher Bonnier‘s R&D team enlisted BERG – the Schulze, Webb & Jones design house of London – to give it one vision for such a device. The result – Mag+, a concept video for a magazine e-reader tablet…

The concept is a rather blank canvas, looking like an oversized iPhone tablet, but the visuals lack detail on what publishing standards might be used here.

Personally, I’m not convinced any of these single-function gadgets – whether for books or magazines – will be particularly successful. iPhone has succeeded because it’s not a walled garden; ereaders need more than both books and magazines.

Apple and Microsoft are rumoured to be working on multi-functional devices – it’s here, if anywhere, that tablets may really come in to their own, as near-computers, not slabs that mimic individual olde worlde media.

  1. I agree with Robert Andrews (@robertandrews): what’s with all the standalone readers?

    I’m psyched the mags are figuring out how to save themselves. Or at least trying to. Using their brands to package a new, digital experience makes great sense to me. It’s not hard to imagine a preference for (and quality advantage with) Sports Illustrated’s take on sports over, say, Joe Schmoe’s (via YouTube) or even Yahoo! Sports. (Note to mags: hurry.)

    But this e-reader/tablet thing has got to stop. Enough on the devices or I’m getting into the personal surge protection biz.

    There’s no way we’ll schlep a laptop AND some kind of glorified, albeit networked, slide projector.

    Wait, if I’m thinking about this now then Apple’s been working on it for a decade. So, don’t worry! It’s about to happen: a computer that looks like a tablet. Apple made a computer look like a computer screen. And like a phone. This’ll be a piece of cake! Too bad for the e-readers, but they should’ve known…

    (One last thing: there’s something a little cautionary about the Bonnier demo video. First, it’s like 8 minutes long. See where I’m going with this? The narrative feels overly-structured. Linear. Sort of like, umm, a magazine. That, and a few breathless references to the table-top “badge” [their word] value of a great cover left me wondering if they’re holding on a little too tightly…)

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